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Minorities applaud government’s retreat on import restrictions

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The caucus stated that its principle was not against any legal regime or policy that sought to protect indigenous businesses by regulating imports, but rather against a law that gave the Minister of Trade unfettered discretionary power to issue import licences and limit the quantity of certain imports into the country, without any checks and balances.

Following the government’s decision to postpone the implementation of import restriction legislation, the minority in Parliament expressed relief.

The caucus was adamantly opposed to the measures, claiming fears of corruption and economic hardship.

The Minority, in a statement issued on December 8, 2023, criticised the laws for giving the Trade Minister undue authority over import licences and amounts without sufficient checks and balances. They were concerned that this authority would lead to corruption, misuse of power, and state control.

“Minority has always maintained that these regulations will breed corruption, because not only are they arbitrary and opaque but they are designed to encourage the arbitrary exercise of discretionary power in the hands of one person, particularly the Minister of Trade and Industry.”

“We have argued that by vesting too much unfettered and unchecked power in the Minister to determine who qualifies or not to be granted a permit to import into the country as many as twenty (24) commodities, the regulations lend themselves to abuse of power, state capture and rent-seeking conduct reminiscent of the days of ‘essential commodities’ and ‘price control’.”

The caucus stated that its principle was not against any legal regime or policy that sought to protect indigenous businesses by regulating imports, but rather against a law that gave the Minister of Trade unfettered discretionary power to issue import licences and limit the quantity of certain imports into the country, without any checks and balances.

“It defied sound logic for this Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government to seek to restrict imports contrary to what it had signed on to about Ghana’s current IMF programme. One of the quantitative performance criteria in Ghana’s current IMF bailout is a requirement to avoid imposing or intensifying restrictions on imports for balance of payment reasons.

At a time Ghanaians are facing extreme misery and reeling under countless taxes, including those contained in the 2024 Budget, we do not consider it right that the government would introduce import restrictions that will fuel inflation and hoarding,” it stated.

PRESS STATEMENT

NDC MINORITY IN PARLIAMENT REACTS TO GOVERNMENT’S SUSPENSION OF LAYING OF IMPORT RESTRICTION REGULATIONS

The Minority Caucus has noted with relief the announcement by the government to suspend the laying of the proposed regulations on Restriction of imports of Selected Strategic Products, 2023.

The Minority has always maintained that these regulations will breed corruption, because not only are they arbitrary and opaque but they are designed to encourage arbitrary exercise of discretionary power in the hands of one person, particularly the Minister of Trade and Industry.

We have argued that by vesting too much unfettered and unchecked power in the Minister to determine who qualifies or not to be granted a permit to import into the country as many as twenty (24) commodities, the regulations lend themselves to abuse of power, state capture and rent-seeking conduct reminiscent of the days of ‘essential commodities’ and ‘price control’.

Indeed, various stakeholders including the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), the Food and Beverages Association of Ghana, Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, Chamber of Automobile Dealership Ghana and the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, have all joined us in all kicking against these proposed import restrictions.

The Minority in principle is not against any legal regime or policy that seeks to protect indigenous businesses by regulating imports. What we are vehemently against is a law that confers unfettered discretionary power on a single individual, in this case a Minister of Trade, to issue import licenses and to restrict the quantity of certain imports into the country, without any checks and balances.

It defied sound logic for this Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government to seek to restrict imports contrary to what it had signed on to with regard to Ghana’s current IMF programme. One of the quantitative performance criteria in Ghana’s current IMF bailout is a requirement to avoid imposing or intensifying restrictions on imports for balance of payment reasons.

At a time Ghanaians are facing extreme misery and reeling under countless taxes, including those contained in the 2024 Budget, we do not consider it right that government would introduce import restrictions that will fuel inflation and hoarding.

We are happy that the government has jettisoned these regulations after stiff resistance and opposition in Parliament by the Minority Caucus.

We wish to assure the Ghanaian people and the business community that the Minority will always be on their side and put their interests first. Ghana First!

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Akuf0-Addo appoints Ken Ofori-Atta as senior presidential advisor

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“I am pleased to inform you that the President of the Republic has appointed you as the Senior Presidential Advisor and Special Envoy for International Finance and Private Sector Investments. “I take this opportunity to congratulate you formally on your reassignment and wish you the very best in this new office,” she stated.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has nominated Ken Ofori-Atta, a former Minister of Finance, as Senior Presidential Advisor and Special Envoy for International Finance and Private Sector Investment.

Mr Ofori-Atta was removed from his duties as Finance Minister on Wednesday, February 14, and replaced by Mohammed Amin Adam.

Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, Chief of Staff, congratulated the former Finance Minister on his position and wished him well in a February 15 statement.

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“I am pleased to inform you that the President of the Republic has appointed you as the Senior Presidential Advisor and Special Envoy for International Finance and Private Sector Investments.

“I take this opportunity to congratulate you formally on your reassignment and wish you the very best in this new office,” she stated.

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Bawumia appoints famous economist Kwame Pianim to advise economic sub-committee

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The former Chair of the Finance Committee in Parliament was among those chosen to play major roles in the development of the NPP's 2024 manifesto, which was unveiled on Wednesday, February 21. In addition, former General Secretary Ing. Kwabena Agyei Agyepong has been named chair of the housing and infrastructure sub-committee.

Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has chosen renowned economist Kwame Pianim as an advisor to the economy cub committee of the NPP’s 2024 manifesto writing committee.

Dennis Miracles Aboagye, the campaign team’s communications director, signed the entire list of the 2024 Manifesto committee.

Dr. Bawumia directed the committee to actively involve all stakeholders in the development of the Manifesto.

Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, a former Member of Parliament for New Juaben South, has been named chair of the manifesto sub-committee on the economy.

The former Chair of the Finance Committee in Parliament was among those chosen to play major roles in the development of the NPP’s 2024 manifesto, which was unveiled on Wednesday, February 21.

In addition, former General Secretary Ing. Kwabena Agyei Agyepong has been named chair of the housing and infrastructure sub-committee.

Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has charged the whole manifesto committee.

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We’ll devise a strategy to keep us together – Osei-Owusu discusses leadership reshuffle

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He expressed his hope for the outgoing Majority Leader to have lasted till the finish, calling him as tremendously industrious.

The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Member of Parliament for Bekwai, Joseph Osei-Owusu, often known as ‘Joewise,’ has emphasized the necessity for the Majority caucus to address possible repercussions following the departure of the outgoing Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu.

In an interview with media in Parliament on Thursday, February 22, the MP for Bekwai said, “The caucus will regroup and determine where to go. I am certain that the caucus will address all of these repercussions, including the impact of our leader’s resignation.

“The process of selecting or electing a new leader, we will discuss all that. And if there are any implications or negative impacts on our caucus, we may decide and plan a route that will keep us together.”

He expressed his hope for the outgoing Majority Leader to have lasted till the finish, calling him tremendously industrious.

“He can sit from morning till morning if there’s work to be done. I am personally disappointed that Kyei decided to stand down; he has been a fantastic leader, and he is an extremely hardworking person. And I would have wished that he stayed on to the end.”

Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu resigned voluntarily with immediate effect on Wednesday, February 21, following a critical meeting of the majority group.

President Nana Akufo-Addo convened the meeting, which took place in Accra’s Jubilee House banquet hall.

The session, attended by the majority of the group’s members, was organised in response to rising tensions within the New Patriotic Party (NPP) parliamentary group.

These conflicts erupted in response to reports of intentions to replace Kyei Mensah-Bonsu with Alexander Afenyo-Markin, which fueled internal strife.

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